| Society

Parcelforce : Payments, Fines, Duties and Pain

It seems the issue is that some post offices, especially at busy times, aren’t careful to mention every eventually that might concern you.

[dropcap style=”font-size:100px; color:#992211;”]A[/dropcap]voiding parcel pain at post offices requires a cool head and a grasp of details.

Different post offices allow you to send via different carriers, each of which have different requirements on what they can and can’t send. For instance, Parcelforce do not allow you to send small bottles containing liquid (even perfume, as an associate recently found out). Which means that they keep the postage and send you your package back – thank you very much.

(Video: Post Office frustrations are not limited to the UK)

Does HM Revenue & Customs get their mail back and asked to pay more money? What about those junk mail vendors? Surely there are more deserving devils that deserve the full cosh of postage woes to weigh heavy?

The full cosh of postage woes

It seems the issue is that some post offices, especially at busy times, aren’t careful to mention every eventuality that might concern you. Which is the sender’s responsibility. [quote]sitting in a small enclosure

watching the disadvantaged count

change in front of your fishbowl[/quote]However, once you’ve marked what’s in it, if there are differences in which company sends what, some mention of those differences would be greatly appreciated.

Not that sitting in a small enclosure watching the disadvantaged count change in front of your fishbowl is a thankful task, but we all do our bit, right?

In the end it seems like it never pays to rush something into the post for international delivery. It’s best to check well ahead of time. If sending A picture of a postbox by Kaishu Taisomething complicated, call Parcelforce (or whomever) first. Moreover, don’t feel rushed at the post office; it’s important to get list your postage contents correctly, and make sure that you’re paying the right amount as the person as the counter may not point these issues out. So walk slow and say your piece.

Even if after waiting for an eternity you can’t wait to be a proscriptive beacon of efficiency to those poor vessels of humanity taking their sweet time ahead of you, do NOT be moved. Stand your ground. Don’t rush. Ask many questions. Make sure you do the right thing and let the right thing be done for you.


On a wider note it seems that the customs and excise people are voracious for money these days, and it’s becoming more common to hear about people being charged for sending second-hand items to themselves or family members, cases where they shouldn’t pay duty at all.

A Trebuchet writer recently sent a second-hand item from their late mother’s estate abroad and was hit with a large customs excise. The charge would have taken months to challenge, and required that they send her death certificate. In the end the beleaguered writer paid (because the complaint process wouldn’t have been completed before the deadline whereby the customs people would send the item back to the overseas source – cue more charges). In the end, challenging the fee seemed lengthy and gruelling and it seemed that giving in was the easiest way.

Is it unfair that they had to pay the ‘duty’? – yes. Do delivery companies make it difficult to lodge a complaint or get through to the right person? – yes. Is this going to change? It’s hard to say.

Regulatory bodies

If enough people ask for a better service the regulatory bodies should take notice. If you’ve been wronged you can lodge a complaint here:


While for the most part, officials are just doing their job, it is doubtful people would mind as much if the process was streamlined. Streamlined so that customers weren’t (more or less) asked to lose a working day’s pay (spent on the phone, visiting depots, complaining to managers, etc), on top of the ‘duty/fine’, in order get their stuff.

Postbox image by Kaihshu Tai


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